Trusty solution keeps your chamois pliable

CLEAN IT UP: Viscose garments should be washed in cold water and sprigs of lavender placed in couches can mask smells

I thought you might enjoy this method from one of my old books. “To prolong the life of these wonderfully soft, pliable portions of skin from a goat-like antelope, they should be handled carefully and stored in a cool, dry place.

“To wash, squeeze gently in warm water to remove excess dirt. Then wash in warm, soapy water. If greasy, add one teaspoon of ammonia.

“When completely clean, rinse in fresh warm, soapy water containing one tablespoon of olive or cooking oil. Roll in a towel to remove excess water and then hang in the shade to dry. Rumple occasionally to keep the cloth soft and pliable.”

That should do it!

I purchased a pair of white long pants (55% Ramie and 45% viscose). I washed them as per the washing instructions and they shrank. I returned them to the store and purchased another pair. How should I wash these pants so this will not happen again? – JH, Port Elizabeth.

Did you not discuss the correct washing procedure with the store? If you followed the instructions, it seems a risky business to do it all over again. Looking at the make-up of the material, “Ramie” is a new one on me, but nearly all rayon is now known as viscose, which should be handled carefully in a cool wash. Therefore, I suggest you wash the garment by hand in cold water. Do not twist or wring – merely squeeze gently. After the first wash, dry flat on a towel, rather than risk a distortion by hanging on the line. If the pants require ironing and you do not have a steam iron, press them while they are still a bit damp, at a medium temperature.

What is the best way to remove a dark brown stain from an old enamel bath caused by dirty water after a water stoppage at our holiday home? I’ve tried Jik, but to no avail. – MS, Port Elizabeth.

You should not use harsh abrasives on enamel, and now that you have tried bleach, I do not hold out much hope for the usual home remedies, such as rubbing with lemon juice and salt, or bicarbonate of soda.

Perhaps the best bet would be to rub with a coarse cloth dipped in vinegar. Sprinkle a little salt on the damp cloth if the stain proves obstinate.

Leave the vinegar on for a minute or two before rinsing off thoroughly. Repeat if necessary. If all else fails, you can try oxalic acid (from the pharmacy) which is sold in crystal form. It is commonly used in a 5% solution with water, always adding the crystals to the water.

It is poisonous, so wear rubber gloves.

A reader mentioned a tip from you on using bicarbonate of soda for removing organic smells, such as cat urine. I’ve had this problem for ages on a couch with a wood finish and leather upholstery. Kindly advise the relative mixture and method for this surface. – DR, Port Elizabeth.

After all this time, it seems that the smell has impregnated the upholstery and it’s doubtful whether bicarb will work, though it is a great deodoriser. The earlier tip referred to carpets, on which the powder can be sprinkled, left overnight and vacuumed in the morning.

The problem with the couch is that the source of the smell is inaccessible.

Rubbing with cleaning products may not only be ineffective but could damage the surface.

Masking the smell with perfumed sachets or sprigs of lavender, tucked between the cushions, could help. – At Your Service, Gwen Bisseker

One thought on “Trusty solution keeps your chamois pliable

  • March 14, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Morning – Please could you help my Dad – Ray Quin – you had a post with regards getting rid of Geckos and Snakes from Bo. Please could you furnish me with contact info to give to my Dad so that he can contact this person. He is battling with Gecko “poo”.


Leave a Reply

Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment moderation policy. Your email address is required but will not be published.